by Brad Gooch
This volume is a biography of American novelist, short-story writer and essayist Flannery O'Connor (1926-1964), who despite the chronic disease that eventually confined her to her mother's farm in Georgia, managed to fundamentally change the landscape of American literature with her fierce, sometimes comic novels and stories. The author brings to life O'Connor's significant friendships -- with Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick, Walker Percy, and James Dickey among others -- and her deeply felt convictions, as expressed in her communications with Thomas Merton, Elizabeth Bishop, and Betty Hester. O'Connor was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. O'Connor's writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.